Browsing Tag


Posted on February 22, 2017

Is Insidious Really about Race?

Dawn Keetley

The horror film is notoriously white, which is why I’m writing this in great anticipation of the release on Friday February 24 of Jordan Peele’s Get Out–a serious horror film that directly confronts racial difference and division. Peele has said that the idea for his film initially came to him during the 2008 Democratic primary and that, over the years, he became more and more convinced that “especially after Obama’s election . . . the U.S. was ‘living in this postracial lie.’” Peele’s target in Get Out, he says, is “the liberal elite,” who tend to believe they are above—past—racism.[i]

The release of Peele’s film, which takes aim at the idea that we are “postracial,” joins the recent publication of Michael Tesler’s book, Post-Racial or Most-Racial?, about the increasing racialization of the US during the course of Barack Obama’s presidency. Tesler points out that before Obama’s election in 2008, “race-based and race-evoking issues” were “largely receding from the national political scene.” Obama’s two terms as president, however, have ushered in what Tesler calls “a ‘most-racial’ political era” in which Americans are more divided “over a whole host of political positions than they had been in modern times.”[ii]

If America has become still more profoundly divided by race over the course of the last nine years, it’s worth asking, where is the evidence of that divide in the horror film, a genre that has long been (rightly) declared to be adept at representing the social and cultural conflicts of its historical moment?

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Posted on March 17, 2015

Race & Historical Memory in Candyman (1992)

Elizabeth Erwin

The question as to whether an examination of societal inequality can exist in the space between documented historical atrocities and traditional horror filmmaking is answered, although only in part, by Bernard Rose’s Candyman (1992). Heavy on the visceral thrills we expect from the genre, the film succeeds in asking some very pointed questions about race and class, even if the answers are deeply problematic. Certainly, Candyman’s titular villain is a unique manifestation of the intersection between race and historical memory in popular culture and so I am interested in taking a closer look at the film’s underlying social narrative.

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